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William Black
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 492 pages of information about Macleod of Dare.
to tear it from its foothold of rock and whirl it inland; or was it the sea itself that was rising in its thunderous power to sweep away this bauble from the face of the mighty cliffs?  And then the wild and desolate morning that followed!  Through the bewilderment of the running water on the panes she looked abroad on the tempest-riven sea—­a slate-colored waste of hurrying waves with wind-swept streaks of foam on them—­and on the lowering and ever-changing clouds.  The fuchsia-bushes on the lawn tossed and bent before the wind; the few orange-lilies, wet as they were, burned like fire in this world of cold greens and grays.  And then, as she stood and gazed, she made out the only sign of life that was visible.  There was a cornfield below the larch-plantation; and though the corn was all laid flat by the wet and the wind, a cow and her calf that had strayed into the field seemed to have no difficulty in finding a rich, moist breakfast.  Then a small girl appeared, vainly trying with one hand to keep her kerchief on her head, while with the other she threw stones at the marauders.  By and by even these disappeared; and there was nothing visible outside but that hurrying and desolate sea, and the wet, bedraggled, comfortless shore.  She turned away with a shudder.

All that day Keith Macleod was in despair.  As for himself, he would have had sufficient joy in the mere consciousness of the presence of this beautiful creature.  His eyes followed her with a constant delight; whether she took up a book, or examined the cunning spring of a sixteenth-century dagger, or turned to the dripping panes.  He would have been content even to sit and listen to Mr. White sententiously lecturing Lady Macleod about the Renaissance, knowing that from time to time those beautiful, tender eyes would meet his.  But what would she think of it?  Would she consider this the normal condition of life in the Highlands—­this being boxed up in an old-fashioned room, with doors and windows firmly closed against the wind and the wet, with a number of people trying to keep up some sort of social intercourse, and not very well succeeding?  She had looked at the portraits in the dining-hall—­looming darkly from their black backgrounds, though two or three were in resplendent uniforms; she had examined all the trophies of the chase—­skins, horns, and what not—­in the outer corridor; she had opened the piano, and almost started back from the discords produced by the feebly jangling old keys.

“You do not cultivate music much,” she had said to Janet Macleod, with a smile.

“No,” answered Janet, seriously.  “We have little use for music here—­except to sing to a child now and again, and you know you do not want a piano for that.”

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